The Denver Nuggets officially signed center Nikola Jokic and guard Will Barton to new deals on Monday, the team announced.
“It’s not every day that you find a player with the incredible skillset to lead an NBA franchise that Nikola has, but also the character and personality to match that,” chairman Josh Kroenke said in a statement. “It sounds simple, but our program is built on identifying good people who work hard and represent our organization with pride. Nikola embodies everything we look for in a player and person as he will do anything asked of him because his only concern is helping his team win.
“…We were determined to do whatever it took to keep Nikola in a Nuggets uniform for a very long time.”
According to previous reports, Jokic’s max-level extension is worth $147.7 million over five years, while Barton’s is a four-year deal worth $54 million, with a player option in the fourth year.
Jokic’s deal does not include an option for the fifth year, as many similar deals do. The Nuggets reportedly sought the lack of a player option in exchange for previously declining Jokic’s $1.6 million option for 2018-19. While the option would cost the Nuggets significantly less, they declined it so they could sign the Serbian big man to a five-year deal as a restricted free agent this offseason, rather than risking letting him becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The 23-year-old Jokic made $1.47 million while leading the Nuggets in three offensive categories last season, as he averaged 18.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists. He also shot 39.6 percent from 3-point range and 85 percent from the free-throw line.
Barton, 27, just finished the final year of a three-year, $10.6 million contract. He averaged 15.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 81 games (40 starts) last season in his third full campaign in Denver, finishing fourth in the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year voting.
Denver also agreed to sign guard/forward Torrey Craig to a two-year deal worth $4 million fully guaranteed, according to a Yahoo Sports report Monday.
Craig was a restricted free agent after receiving a qualifying offer from the Nuggets last month.
After going undrafted in 2014, Craig played in Australia for three-plus years before joining the Nuggets’ G League affiliate last year. He worked his way up to Denver’s roster in December and went on to average 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game in 39 appearances (five starts).